Warm Fall

It’s been an unusually warm fall so far and the tomatoes are still going strong. So strong we’ve given up picking them all!

After bringing up ~170lbs of tomatoes to the canning guru, we thought it would be a few weeks at most until a killing frost came and took the plants down. Nope! While it is getting pretty cold out at night, the tomatoes are still putting out.

The deer have noticed the squash and beans, luckily both of those plants quit producing a while ago. The deer’s timing could not be better. Last year they were my mortal enemy, this year they did not show up until the end of the season and I’m glad someone is making use of all those dying plants.

Hopefully this doesn’t cause problems next season in the spring, though. We may end up having to fence the garden after all if they overstay their welcome.

To prep the garden for next year I’m still really hoping to get some manure on the garden after it dies. Leaves are starting to fall and I’m looking forward to collecting those too!

Making Plum Wine

Doing a lot of research about something before I dive in is my modus operandi, and copious research about plum wine reveals failed attempts by many, much more experienced wine makers. Some swear that plum wine isn’t good until it’s aged a year to get rid of acidity or astringency.

I hope that’s not the case, or the two batches I’m making will be untouched for a very long time!

We have two large plum trees on our driveway that drop huge quantities of plums every year. They are small, very sweet Italian prunes. The skins aren’t terribly sour or bitter if the plums are very ripe.

For my first batch, I picked a five-gallon bucket of prunes and let them ripen until they were almost mushy for a week. I then pitted and froze the plums to bring out their juices. The total weight was 25 lbs of plums from my first six-gallon batch.

I made a mistake here, being a novice wine-maker – I did not add sugar to the six gallons of boiling water. I poured in the boiling water, added yeast nutrient, yeast energizer, acid mix, grape tannins, petic enzyme and let it sit for a day to let the petic enzyme work it’s magic.

I then took a gravity reading of 1.20. Not nearly enough sugar in there! I added ~ 10 cups of sugar boiled in 5 cups of water to the mix, which bumped the gravity to 1.60, about a 13% wine.

Unfortunately, with the mesh bag of plum must still in the primary, I couldn’t fit any more sugar water if i wanted to. A thirteen percent wine it is, then!

It’s going strong and smells incredible. The plum scent is turning slightly more alcoholic now but is very pleasant. I will remove the plum must a week later and rack it to the secondary, maybe adding more sugar to raise the percentage a little more. Then it will go down to the cellar to age.

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